Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Doctor of Ministry Thesis-Project
Abstract: This thesis project emphasizes that healthy, growing churches understand who they are (identity), where they want to go (call), and how they intend to get there (strategy). Predominantly this thesis is intended to be a resource and a guide for pastors and Christians from Eastern Europe and Moldova who pray and want God’s church to grow and advance. Also, this research will be used as academic material in the College of Theology and Education in Moldova and as inspirational material for pastors’ conferences. The thesis highlights that today we desperately need a renewed biblical understanding of the church’s divine identity and divine call. We need a church renewal that will re-establish Jesus Christ, God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit at the foundation and at the center of all the church’s being and doing. This thesis begins with the recognition that church growth is not an option; it is a divine mandate. Jesus promised to build his church; therefore, church growth and advance are unstoppable. Chapter 1 speaks about the importance and significance of church growth. Chapter 2 provides a biblical and a theological understanding of the church’s identity. Chapter 3 is based on chapter 2 and explores the church’s purposes. Chapter 4 reflects on the main obstacles to healthy church growth, obstacles that have been discovered in a number of surveys among pastors and churches from Moldova. Chapter 5 reflects practical implications for healthy church growth in Moldova. And finally, chapter 6 includes generalizations and conclusions.